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Thread: Black Powder firearms in "venues that serve alcohol"?

  1. #1
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    Does anyone know if black powder muzzle-loaded pistols would be prohibited under NC law with regards to the firearms prohibition in venues that serve alcohol for consumption?

    I've looked and looked and can't find anything that specifically addresses this...

    Since black powder muzzle loaders (antique firearms or modern repros of such guns) have not been considered "firearms" under Federal law (18 USC §921(3)(D) and (16)(b) since 1995,
    18 USC §921. Definitions (3) The term “firearm” means
    (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.
    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or (B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica— (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

    However, under NC law, a "firearm" is defines a LOT more loosely:
    N.C.G.S. § 14-409.39, the definition section in article 53B,:
    [A firearm is defined as a] handgun, shotgun, or rifle which expels a projectile by action of an explosion.
    So I'm assuming that black powder pistols, under NC law, ARE prohibited under the same statutes that ban modern firearms (places that serve alcohol, schools, places that charge admission, jails, etc).


    This question stems from an experience I had this past weekend. I was over in Greenville on Saturday for "PirateFest", and event the city sponsors downtown. The block off a few blocks of the main drag in the downtown old-town district, and have street vendors, musicians, and performers.

    Of course, I was OCing, and when I approached the official area, I noticed a sign that says "Grog Zone", and it had some fine print saying that you could only consume alcohol in that one block area, so I assumed they were serving beer, and had gotten a special ABC waiver permit for public consumption.

    Needless to say, I turned right around and marched back to my vehicle, where I unholstered and secured my Para, then went back up (wearing my empty Serpa) and started looking for answers...

    first, I talked to the people at the "Information Booth". I asked if they knew who held the ABC Permit for the event. They had no information...

    Then I found the stand where they were serving the beer. They knew who had the license, and actually showed me their displayed copy, but couldn't tell me if the whole "grog zone" block would be covered under NC's firearms ban.

    Then I saw three young GPD bicycle cops. I asked them if they knew if the firearms ban would be applicable in the "grog zone". They told me that they thought it would.

    Then I saw a couple "old timer" GPD motorcycle cops further down the block and asked them the same question. They said that they thought it would NOT apply because it was a public street, and even though they had an ABC waiver to serve out in the open, they wouldn't consider the street or the sidewalk to be covered...

    However, I then looked up the specific wording of the statute on my iPhone in the Right2Bear app, and the exact wording says:
    NCGS §14-269.3a:
    Carrying weapons into assemblies and establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed.
    (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry any gun, rifle, or pistol into any assembly where a fee has been charged for admission thereto, or into any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    Since the street is NOT and "establishment", and since walking through some arbitrary zone on the street would not be "carrying into" an establishment, I can't see how 14-269.3a could apply.

    But knowing that GPD recently got 21 new AR-15s, I figured that this was not really the time or the place to "try it out". I suppose I need to call the NC AG on this one...


    added note: when talking to the "old timers", one officer said "well judging from the crowd here so far today, I doubt you'd need to be carrying". To which I answered, "I doubt those students at VA Tech thought they needed to be carrying either, though..." To which he responded, "oh, yeah. You've got a point there..."

    The "old timers" were WAY more cordial, honest, and interested in my line of query than the rookie bicycle cops. And they asked me what I usually carried too, and when I told them, they both went "wow, sounds like a nice piece"...

    And to top it all off, the "Pirate Reenactors" who were doing "black powder demonstrations" were walking around with all kinds of black powder pistols tucked in their belts. (none of them were drinking though...) I got into a discussion with one of the reinactors (from VA) who INSISTED that the Federal law 18 USC 921 over-rode NC law and because black powder firearms were not considered "firearms", they were not covered.

    I let him know politely that it did not. I even pulled out my iPhone and showed him the exact statute for NC firearms ban with regards to alcohol, and the NC Statutory definition of a "firearm", but he did not want to be confused by the facts, because he KNEW the law. Apparently wearing a pirate outfit somehow makes a VA resident an expert on NC law, so I didn't press it...

    Yeah, this is going to need a call to the AG...

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Wow, i have never really thought about that.

    If you do call and find out, PLEASE let me know what they say.

    and if its okay to carry there, maybe we should organize a open carry meet. :celebrate

    I'd even pitch in to have a bunch of open carry pamphlet made.

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    I love the idea of what you are proposing, but I think I might not have guts enough to try it, seems like it would be playing with fire, but who knows what the AG will say about it.

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    OK, I just got off the phone with one of the Councilors from the AG's office, and here is the "answer"...


    Part 1--Is OC or CC legal in the "Grog Zone"?

    Under NC law, there is no strict definition of the term "establishment" with regards to the firearms ban. So in his opinion, walking through this "grog zone" area (which include the street and sidewalks) would technically NOT fall under the ban, but it WAS his opinion that the parking lot where they were actually SELLING the beers would fall under the ban.

    His reasoning is that the law prohibits carrying a firearm in an establishment where alcohol is sold AND consumed. The ban does not cover areas where it is just being consumed if they are physically separated from the area of sales.

    Ultimately, however, he said it would come down to three different points:

    1) the exact wording of the "Temporary ABC Waiver" and how it defined the limits of their liquor license for this event,

    2) individual interpretation by an LEO in a specific situation as to what HE thought constituted an "establishment", and

    3) ultimately, how the Courts would interpret the term "establishment", as there is no established case law pertaining to this specific situation on which to rely.

    So essentially, the answer I got was a non-answer, with regard to the legality of OC or licensed CC in such an area.


    Part 2--Is Carrying a Black Powder Pistol legal in the "Grog Zone" (or in ANY "establishment" that serves alcohol)?

    With regards to black powder weapons, I was right AND wrong. Under NC law, a black powder pistol or long gun IS included in the prohibition against carrying firearms in an establishment that serves alcohol, because of our state's statutory definition of a "firearm", which over-rides the Federal definition of a "firearm" under 18 USC §921(3)(D).

    However, if the person carrying such a firearm has the express permission of the owner or organizers of such an event to carry these firearms on the premises, then it is legal, under §14-269.3 (b)(3), which states:
    § 14‑269.3. Carrying weapons into assemblies and establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed.
    (b) This section shall not apply to the following:
    (3) A person participating in the event, if he is carrying a gun, rifle, or pistol with the permission of the owner, lessee, or person or organization sponsoring the event
    So even if it WAS interpreted by an LEO that it was a violation for an "ordinary citizen" to be carrying at such an event, it would NOT be illegal for the reenactors, IF they had permission from the organizers of the event to possess and carry their black powder firearms.

    So there you go. There is your answer. Kudos for the AG office for answering my question within 45 minutes of my original call, but I wish they could have given me a more clear answer as to what constitutes an "establishment"...

    In other words, this situation, after four days of research, and a call to the NC AG's office, is a clear as mud... :?
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  5. #5
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    so if you really wanted to, you could. but would probably get some leo attention.

    if i wanted to it might be best if i contacted "person or organization sponsoring the event"

    Handing out pamphlets is participating in the event?

    gah, i want to pretty bad. Now im all iffy about it. lol

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